interview with a children’s entertainer

AAM balloon

It’s me!!

Recently, a reader mentioned that she works as a magician for kids, and I wanted to know more. The reader, Karen Climer, runs this entertainment business for kids, and she graciously agreed to do an interview for us. Here’s the Q&A, and here are some photos of some amazing balloon sculptures she’s done.

So you’re a magician for kids! Tell us what the job entails.

If you met me on the street and asked me what I did for a living, I would say I’m a children’s entertainer or a balloon twister. I do magic in my act, but I really focus on balloons, more than the magic.

As far as what the job entails, it depends on the event. For the summer, I do a large balloon show that is 45-minutes long. The show uses balloon twisting, magic, ventriloquism and storytelling, and everything involves balloons. So right now, I am developing and rehearsing the show. The first step is to come up with ideas. The thinking part is something that I work on year-round I’m constantly thinking of things that I can do that might be funny to 3-10 year olds, but also entertaining to their parents. Coming up with ideas and figuring out how they will work is the hardest part of the show.

My show is modular, so I have 6-8 bits that range from 1-7 minutes each. When I put all those together, I have a show. Some bits come together quickly. Others take a while. I also have to find music, edit it, program it into my sound system, etc. Occasionally, I have to build props.

Once the summer starts, I go to libraries and summer camps and perform the show. It’s a 45-minute show, but it’s usually a 3-4 hour event for me. Sometimes I have to drive a few hours in addition to that. (Show business isn’t all glamourous!) Usually, I have to modify my show a little bit during the summer. Something that I thought would work might not play as well with a large audience, so I have to modify it or sometimes replace it.

Besides the crazy balloon show, I do birthday parties, restaurants, festivals, trade shows, weddings, you name it. For those events, I show up at the event and make balloons for a few hours. Sometimes I do a smaller magic show at birthday parties. The vast majority of my performing is for kids. Every once in a while, I get hired to do balloon twisting for a corporate event or some other grown-up event.

A very small portion of my business is not entertaining. I make a balloon sculpture at home, and deliver it, the same way that a florist would deliver a flower bouquet.

The job also entails typical business stuff like marketing, accounting, contracts, ordering supplies, etc. I also try to keep up with kids stuff like the latest characters and movies. Lastly, I spend a lot of time practicing and trying to come with creative stuff and learn new skills.

How did you get into this?

I’ve been doing balloon twisting for about six years, which is a long time in the balloon industry. My background is in classical music, so I’ve been performing since I was in middle school. I got into balloons and children’s entertainment when I saw a listing in the newspaper for a clown class. I thought it would be fun, but had no intention of making this a career.

Well, clowning wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be. It takes way too long to put the makeup on. Also, it’s Florida and many events are outside. The wig is hot. The makeup is super thick. It was too much trouble, and I don’t think the kids really care if you wear a costume. The parts I liked about clown school were balloons and magic, so I stuck with those.

Tell me about the logistics. Do you work for yourself? Through an agency? Do you have coworkers, or do you work alone?

I work for and by myself. Most often the client calls me directly, and I book the gigs that way. Occasionally, an agent will call and book me. I prefer to work with the client directly, but I’m not going to turn it down because it’s through an agency. Also, sometimes other performers will call and book me – either because they are acting as an agent for that particular gig or because they had an emergency and can’t do a gig they had booked.

From time to time, someone will call me and want to book more than one balloon twister, so I will contract an extra person for that gig. Also, sometimes I can’t make a regular weekly gig, so I have to hire a substitute. But for the most part, I work by myself.

Once I get to the event, there might be other entertainers – face painters, stilt walkers, clowns, and even Santa. There are people I end up working with frequently, but from the business side we are all separate.

What do you like best about the work?

It sounds really cliché, but the best part is making kids smile. I feel like such a dork when I say that because it sounds like what you are supposed to say, but it really is true. The other thing is that, quite often, I make the party. When I show up with my balloon bag, everyone is happy to see me. I don’t think I’d get that reception if I were, I don’t know, a tax collector or a colonoscopy technician. (No offense to anyone in those jobs. They are important too!) Also, there are a lot of accolades. At almost every gig, someone will tell me that I’m amazing. If you are an excellent project manager or a great plumber, your customers probably appreciate you, but they don’t always shower you with praise.

From a marketing perspective, one challenge is getting people to remember my name. I’m not just the balloon twister – I’m Karen Climer. I talk to people all the time who say things like, “I was at a party the other day that had a balloon twister. He was good.” I ask, “Oh really? What was his name?” They say, “I don’t know his name but he was excellent.”

From a marketing perspective, that scares me to death. I am constantly repeating my name to people. I have marketing material geared toward kids and adults. Hopefully, at least one of them will hang on to it. If they remember my name, they can find me.

What’s the most challenging part of what you do?

One challenge that is really fun is the unpredictability of children. I remember this one show where I had a volunteer on stage with me. It was a girl who was probably about six years old. We had a balloon dog that popped and we were trying to use magic to fix it. I gave her a tiny magic wand (about three inches long) to use and the trick didn’t work. I gave her a bigger wand, and it still didn’t work. We go through six magic wands each one getting bigger and bigger, and none of them work. The last magic wand is about 12 feet long, and about one foot in diameter. It’s huge! Then the magic finally works. In this particular show, the volunteer helper was a great volunteer. She was having fun and laughing the whole time. When we were on the sixth magic wand, the last one before the huge one, the volunteer said, “I’m about to pee. I have to go to the bathroom.” And she ran out of the room before I could say anything. Um, that wasn’t part of the script.

The climax of that bit is really when I bring out the biggest magic wand, more so than actually recreating the dog, so she took off just before the big moment. Her sister came up as a stunt double and we finished it. Any time you bring a child up on stage with you, it’s a risk because you are never 100% sure what’s going to happen.

What didn’t you know when you started that ended up being important?

When I show up at an event, I have to start thinking about my exit. A lot of events are what is called line work. This is where I am stationary, and the kids come up to me. They stand in a line to get a balloon. The hardest part about line work is ending the line. Balloon twisters and face painters discuss this constantly on discussion boards and at conventions.

If I am supposed to leave the event at 4:00 pm, I can’t just close my bag at 4:00, walk out, and say too bad for everyone who is waiting in line. (Actually I could do that and there are people that do, but that’s not my style.) What I do is anywhere from 3:00-3:45, depending on the length of the line, I close the line. I give a card to everyone who is in line. If there is a DJ, I ask the DJ to announce that the balloon line is closed. If anyone tries to get in line after that, I tell them the line is closed. From that moment on, the card is like a ticket. If you don’t have a ticket, you don’t get a balloon. I make no exceptions. I don’t care if the Pope walks up and asks for a balloon. Once the line is closed, it’s closed. I’m pretty flexible and try to make everyone happy at the event, but that is one thing where I make no exceptions.

It sounds heartless because sometimes there are crying kids (or more likely, pushy adults), but as soon as I make one exception, I have a new line. If it’s a busy day, I don’t have time to stick around because I have to go to the next event.

When I first started, I didn’t know this. I wanted to make everyone happy, so the event would be over and I would still be there making balloons. I thought when the event was over, people would just leave because that’s what they are supposed to do. It took only one event to realize that it was my responsibility to plan my exit. It took a few more events to realize that couldn’t make any exceptions once I closed the line. It took me a several years of trial and error to hone this to what I use today.

When we talked initially, you mentioned that you get interesting opportunities to see parents interact with their children, in the best and worst ways. Tell me more about that — what sorts of things to you see?

I could write a book on this. In the line work scenario I mentioned, usually the younger kids and parents will both be in line together. When they approach me, I direct my attention to the child. I ask them what type of balloon they want. Then while I’m making the balloon, I talk to the child and joke around with them.

For some kids, it is pretty intimidating to talk to an adult they don’t know. Even though I’m friendly and patient with the kids, some kids are still sheepish when talking to other adults.

This is a scenario that drives me bananas:
Karen: What type of balloon do you want?
Boy: A penguin
Parent: Oh, you don’t want a penguin. How about Darth Vader?
Boy: No, I want a penguin.
Karen: Do you want a black and white penguin? Or do you want some crazy colors? I have every color in the world.
Parent: Are you sure you don’t want a dinosaur? I saw another kid with that. It was pretty cool.
Karen (to parent): I think he wants a penguin. When it’s your turn, you can have any balloon you want.
Boy: I want a pink and yellow penguin.
Parent: You can’t get a pink one. That’s a girl color. Make him a black and white one.

And it goes on and on. I just want to whack the parent on the head with a balloon when this happens. (For the record, I’ve never done that.) I believe that the only way kids learn how to make good decisions is by making decisions. The kid might get the penguin and then decide, “I should’ve gotten Darth Vader.” But a balloon is a pretty low-risk decision. If he has balloon remorse after he picks the wrong thing, he’ll make a different decision next time.

The other scenario that drives me crazy is when I ask the kid a question and the parent answers.
Karen: How old are you?
Parent: She’s 5.
Karen (as I’m making a dog): Do you have a dog at home?
Parent: We have a lab.
Karen: What’s your dog’s name?
Parent: Bubbles.

Thanks Mom, but the question really isn’t about your pet. It’s about connecting with your child. If I wanted to talk to you, we’d be having a more intelligent conversation.

Sometimes I see parents who don’t think the rules apply to them. I’m talking about parents who cut in line or talk on their cell phone during a live show. These same parents snap at their children for being disrespectful. I’m convinced that these parents genuinely have no idea that they are modeling disrespectful behavior to their children.

The scenarios I love are when the parents are patient and encourage their kids.
Karen: What type of balloon do you want today?
Boy: [No response. Just silence.]
Karen: Do you want Superman to match your t-shirt? How about a dog, a cat, a fish, a shark, a ninja, a vacuum cleaner, a basketball hoop…
Boy (to the parent): Superman
Parent: Don’t tell me. You have to tell her.
Boy (to parent): I want Superman.
Parent: You have to tell her so she’ll know what you want.
Boy (to parent): Can’t you tell her for me?
Parent: Nope, you can do it. Just look at her and say, “I’d like Superman, please.”

In this situation, I don’t mind waiting and participating with the parent in what they are trying to teach their child. I actually enjoy watching this and being a part of it.

How are kids with magic? Are they trying to figure out the trick, or are they just amazed and delighted?

It depends on the age. The older kids try to figure it out. The younger ones don’t realize they can figure it out. They really believe it’s magic so there is nothing to figure out.

What magic trick goes over the best with the most kids?

With kids, it’s more about the process than the end result. Earlier, I talked about a trick where we kept using bigger and bigger magic wands. The game of bringing out the bigger wand each time is more fun to them than actually restoring a popped balloon dog back into a regular balloon dog. I do another trick where a take a water balloon and hold a lighter to it. It doesn’t pop. (This isn’t magic. It’s science.) I’ll hold it over a kid’s head and say we are going to put fire to it. Just to be safe, the kid needs head protection (a shower cap). OK, now we are ready. Oh wait, I just remembered that my insurance requires him to wear eye protection (those gag glasses with windshield wipers). All of the shenanigans and the anticipation are more fun than actually putting a fire to a water balloon.

The other thing kids like is when I mess up. There is a whole genre of magic called magician in trouble. This type of magic is fun for kids and adults. Once I make a “mistake,” they are convinced that I’ve messed it up and wondering how I’m going to pull this off until the very end. The kids are delighted that a grownup has messed up. The adults are usually a little bit embarrassed for me. At the same time, though, the kids and adults are disappointed that they don’t get to see the trick because of my utter incompetence. In the end, of course, the trick works out.

Kids also like it when they know something I don’t. I was at an event yesterday, where I was making a balloon spider. I’m telling this class of four-year olds that a spider has four legs. They start yelling out that a spider has eight legs. They get so excited telling me that I’m wrong because they know more than I do. If you think about it, children are used to adults always being right, and children needing help with things. When the roles are reversed, it’s pretty empowering to kids.

Do you hang around other magicians and share magic tricks? I always assumed magicians would be very secretive and competitive and wouldn’t share tricks at all, unless you found one who would take you under their wing and let you apprentice (I think I’m basing this on books and movies). Is there anything to that?

Back in the day, I guess you had to get someone to take you on as an apprentice. Today, you have to buy DVDs and online downloads. (That learning-from-a-master idea makes a much better story for books and movies. Can you imagine if Harry Potter ordered DVDs instead of going to Hogwarts?) Most of the magic I know, I learned either from DVDs or magic lectures. A magic lecture is where a guest magician will come to the magic club meeting or a magic convention. They’ll perform a few tricks they’ve invented and explain how they are done. Then they have DVDs and lecture notes for sale that include those tricks plus others.

In Orlando, we have a magic club, a clown club, and a ventriloquist club. At different points, I’ve been part of each of them. The vast majority of members of each club are hobbyists. Right now, I only go to the ventriloquist meetings regularly. I don’t go to the magic meetings too often because most of the magicians there focus on coins and cards and other adult-type magic. Kids aren’t that interested in card tricks or coin tricks.

The different types of performers have different cultures. Magicians are pretty secretive, especially when compared to other types of performers. If you went to the magic meetings, they would help you with common magic tricks that have been around forever. These are things that would be considered to be in the public domain. If someone performed a newer trick and I asked what the secret was, they would tell me what the trick was called, so I could buy the DVD or instructions myself. There are a lot of magicians (not me) who really get a kick out fooling other magicians. If that’s your main goal, then you can’t share the secret with anyone, even other magicians. Most of the magic I do is not super sophisticated magic. I like to fool laypeople, but it doesn’t bother me if other entertainers know what I’m doing. I focus more on connecting with the audience and making it fun for the kids.

Magicians, balloon twisters, and face painters all have jams. This is where everyone gets together and trades ideas. At a magic jam, if I said to someone, “Hey I’m having a problem with this sleight of hand move. How do you make this work?”, they would help me. But if I said, “How did you do that trick?” they may or may not tell me. It would depend on how common the trick was, how well I knew the person, and how nice the person was. Balloon twisters are the polar opposite in terms of sharing. They will share anything with anyone. If I’m at a balloon jam, and I see someone else making something cool, they will almost always show me what they did, even if I’ve never met them before. Clowns and face painters will share information too. Ventriloquists are somewhere in between. There are plenty of ventriloquists who will help you with technique and jokes, but some are too afraid you are going to steal their best joke lines. By the way, these jams and lectures are usually at someone’s house, a magic shop, or the back meeting room of a restaurant like IHOP.

I don’t hang out with very many magicians. I hang out more with children’s entertainers. Most of them do some magic, but their main focus might be clowning, ventriloquism, or something else. If I am trying to figure out a routine for something and need someone to brainstorm with me, it makes more sense for me to talk to a clown who does kids shows than a magician who does adult shows. The goal is comedy and entertainment for kids. The magic, balloons, ventriloquism, or whatever is just a medium.

{ 140 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Caledonia

    Great interview, very fascinating insight to a balloon entertainer and what it involves.

    All the best, Karen!

    (I like these interviews, is it wrong to want more?)

    Reply
    1. E

      I’d absolutely love for the interviews to be a monthly Thing here. Maybe once a month Alison could put out a call for interesting jobs that folks are willing to be interviewed about? (By the way Alison, this could be a great idea for a book, or chapter intros for a book…)

      Reply
    2. Margali

      This was really interesting, and I too would enjoy more interviews with people who have unusual jobs!

      Reply
      1. AMT 2

        I love this sort of stuff too – the Working podcast by Slate is similar, each episode is about someone and their job, literally just answering ‘what do you do all day’ or ‘how do you do that’?

        Reply
      2. Hillary

        I’d also love to see the jobs that no one thinks about. For instance so many people don’t know that driving a truck can be a solid middle-class job with a high school education.

        Reply
        1. UK Nerd

          A friend of mine used to be a continental truck driver. I’ll see if he’s interested in being interviewed – I know for a fact he’s got some amazing stories. Romance! Guns! Ceramic bird baths!

          Reply
      3. alter_ego

        It’s funny, because I don’t think of my job as usual, but I mentioned it on a post the other day, and someone commented that they thought it was. I wonder how many people do jobs that they wouldn’t even think to offer up as unusual because when you’re doing it day-to-day, it doesn’t really feel weird to you.

        Reply
    3. CanadianKat

      Thank you, Alison and Karen, that was lovely!
      Especially the part about conversations with kids. Can’t imagine how the Mom couldn’t understand Karen was trying to get the child to talk! But some parents definitely do that.

      Reply
  2. Lily in NYC

    This is great, thank you for posting it! I found the “exit strategy” section so interesting.

    Reply
    1. A Non

      Yes, definitely. It’s something I never thought of, but it totally makes sense. It also helps me know how not to be a jerk when interacting with performers like this.

      Reply
    2. fposte

      I thought that was fascinating, and I think it emphasizes that knowing how to end an interaction is a crucial life skill. Fear of bad dates, fear of phone calls–I think a lot of that is the fear that you won’t be able to end them when you want to.

      Reply
      1. KB

        I am afraid of phones and you are correct. I think this is probably 70% of it. I’m especially afraid of social phone calls, because they don’t have a clear and defined script for ending them like a call to, say, make an appointment does. (Although I hate those too. That’s the other 30%.) Talking to my dad on the phone is a bizarre exercise in awkwardness because both of us hate the phone and neither of us can figure out how to get off of it. (We generally communicate by email.)

        Reply
        1. Clever Name

          A friend of mine from jr. high would say, “Well, I’d better let you go now” to end phone conversations. It’s totally brilliant because it implies that while you’d LOVE to hang on the phone all day, you recognize the other person is Busy with Things to Do. Nine times out of ten, the other person will wrap up the conversation. (The tenth time would be when you’re talking to my mother-in-law who ignores the it’s time to wrap up signal).

          Reply
          1. Amy G. Golly

            I can always tell when one of my BFFs from high school is ready to end the phone call, because she’ll start summarizing for me everything we talked about. Think: “I’m so glad work is going well for you! I’m going to look for that book you mentioned. The kids are great, but so busy. We should find a time to get together when things slow down!”

            Then I know we’re ready to wrap things up. ;)

            Reply
  3. jhhj

    Do you warn people that the line will be closing, like a last call for balloon, or is it just a sudden announcement?

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      It depends. If people ask me when I’m leaving, I tell them a time that is earlier than when I leave. Or if I hear them saying, “let’s come back to this later,” and I know I’m going to close soon, I’ll go over and tell them that.
      If there is a DJ or someone with a mic, it’s easier to make announcements but a lot of events don’t have that, so then it usually happens without warning.

      Reply
      1. A Non

        Karen will probably be around to answer this, but last time I was at an event with a balloon twister, she had a scheduled 10-15 minutes off every hour.

        She was such a hit that the people running the party paid her to stay an hour later than planned. I’ve never seen so many adults running around with balloon hats before. (And no, I don’t remember her name, but I think that’s because I never heard it.)

        Reply
      2. Karen Climer

        I don’t answer the phone if I’m at an event.
        A lot of events are only 2-3 hours long so I don’t need a bathroom break. For longer events, people will sometimes get mad if I need a bathroom break. I will say, “I’m going to run to the restroom. I’ll be back in 4 minutes.” Most people understand. But there’s always one person who will ask if I can do one more before my break. People are really interesting.

        Reply
        1. spinetingler

          “But there’s always one person who will ask if I can do one more before my break.”

          Yes – I can fill a balloon with pee and give it to you.

          Reply
  4. Dorth Vader

    Thanks so much for this, Alison and Karen! The line bit totally resonates for me- I used to work at Build-A-Bear and parents/adults always fell into those two types. It’s the one thing I don’t really miss about working in children’s retail!

    Reply
  5. Whippersnapper

    I feel the frustration with the parents. One of my first jobs involved doing fairs and events for a local family oriented business, and I did booths with activities all the time. When we did tile colouring, it was impressive to watch some parents put a marker in their child’s hand and GRAB THIER HAND TO CONTROL THE COLOURING. Meanwhile, junior is spaced way out looking at something else, because why should they care if they aren’t doing anything? Just… Chill out. Your kid is 3-5. You’ll get some scribbles and you can discreetly throw it away later if you want. Your puppy isn’t exact a Rembrandt either, mum.

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      I can sooooo relate to this. Sometimes parents ask for balloons for 1-2 year olds because the baby needs one of the older kids have one. I also see people try to get a face painter to paint their baby’s hand.

      Reply
  6. AshleyH

    This is so interesting! I worked at a Girl Scout camp throughout HS and college that was entertainment themed – for some reason I was in charge of the clowning program (I have zero qualifications) so I learned a lot about facepaint, simple magic tricks, balloon art, etc – it seems so simple to an outsider because it’s “for kids” but there’s so much to it. I think kids are interested in it because it’s so accessible, silly, and bright! I always loved my clown girls :)

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      The only real qualification you need to be a clown is you have to be funny. At the clown club and clown conventions, people like to say things like, “Real clowns don’t show any skin. Real clowns don’t wear rainbow wigs.” and all these other rules that they have invented themselves. My rule is that real clowns have to funny. That’s all that kids care about.

      Reply
      1. AshleyH

        well I wouldn’t consider myself funny, either, haha! More like overly confident and not afraid to make a fool of myself — which I guess is equally helpful in clowning :)

        Reply
  7. lychee

    Thank you Karen and Alison.
    This was very very interesting to read. Thank you Karen for taking the time to write in such detail – I really enjoyed it. Especially your observances and insights.

    Good luck :)

    Reply
  8. moss

    This is the best thing I’ve read today!

    I was a clown for a very brief time and connecting with the kids really was the best part. The smarty pants, the gullible, the shy, the loudmouth, they are all awesome.

    I wish you the very best and a long and successful career! I wish you easy drives and kind parents. :)

    Reply
  9. DNDL

    I’m a children’s librarian, and I have the same frustrations with parents. I’ll often tell kids that I can’t read their minds, or understand them when they talk to their parents. They’ll say, “But you *just* heard me ask mom for a sticker!! You know what I want!” And I’ll say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can’t read minds. I don’t understand parent-child conversations. I only know what *you* tell *me*.” The child will either be so amused or so frustrated that he’ll break out of his shell and finally ask me, “I cleaned up. May I please have a sticker!?” It’s a lot of fun to tease the shy ones out of their shell.

    Reply
    1. neverjaunty

      …sometimes the kids are not just shy but have massive social anxiety or developmental issues. I get gently encouraging them to talk to you, but FFS, teasing kids who aren’t just shy is a dick move. Please don’t.

      Reply
      1. Karen Climer

        I think to say it’s a dick move is a little bit harsh, but I absolutely understand your point. I do not push shy ones, only because I don’t know why they are shy. Is it normal childhood shyness? Anxiety? Autism? Or some other situation that I’m misinterpreting as shyness.
        I will always let the adult speak on behalf of the child (even though it sometimes drives me crazy). But if the parent is encouraging the child to speak for themselves, I’ll play along.
        In DNDL’s case, they might have more of a relationship with the regular library patrons, so they might know the child’s situation. I don’t usually have that in my case.
        What is very helpful, and I really appreciate, is when a parent tells me right upfront that Johnny isn’t verbal or Mary has autism or whatever. The parent is under no obligation to do that, but I know to be more patient or use a balloon pump that doesn’t make a loud noise (as opposed to my normal pump that sounds like a drill) or whatever might be helpful.

        Reply
  10. TV Researcher

    Awesome interview, though the pink penguin tale made me sad.

    A friend of mine did a documentary (many years ago) on balloon twisters and the sculptures that can be done with balloons is amazing.

    Reply
  11. LawCat

    Fascinating and delightful! Great interview!

    (And I admit, I couldn’t help but think of Gob Bluth and the “Alliance of Magicians” when secretiveness of magicians came up :-D)

    Reply
  12. Ask a Manager Post author

    With Karen’s permission, here are the pieces of the interview that I cut for length:

    More on what she likes best about the work:

    One challenge that is really fun is the unpredictability of children. I remember this one show where I had a volunteer on stage with me. It was a girl who was probably about six years old. We had a balloon dog that popped and we were trying to use magic to fix it. I gave her a tiny magic wand (about 3” long) to use and the trick didn’t work. I gave her a bigger wand, and it still didn’t work. We go through six magic wands each one getting bigger and bigger, and none of them work. The last magic wand is about 12 feet long, and about 1 feet in diameter. It’s huge! Then the magic finally works. In this particular show, the volunteer helper was a great volunteer. She was having fun and laughing the whole time. When we were on the sixth magic wand, the last one before the huge one, the volunteer said, “I’m about to pee. I have to go to the bathroom.” And she ran out of the room before I could say anything. Um, that wasn’t part of the script.

    The climax of that bit is really when I bring out the biggest magic wand, more so than actually recreating the dog, so she took off just before the big moment. Her sister came up as a stunt double and we finished it. Any time you bring a child up on stage with you, it’s a risk because you are never 100% sure what’s going to happen.

    Now that I’ve told that story, I should mention here that I have never had a child pee in their pants while on stage with me (knock on wood porcelain bowl). I know some performers who have had that happened to them.

    I’m fascinated by the home-delivery balloon sculptures. Tell us more about that — what kinds of sculptures do people want in that context? And what’s the weirdest or oddest balloon sculpture you’ve ever been asked to make?

    Balloons are a visual medium, so here are some photos of a few delivery pieces I’ve done http://www.balloontwisterorlando.com/decorations.html

    A flower bouquet is definitely the most common. The second most common is a person like the one I sent you. The person is fun because you can customize the hair color, skin color, clothes, facial hair, glasses and accessories (like a tennis racket or stethoscope). Both of those designs are common for traditional flower occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or being in the hospital. Just like a florist, I deliver them to people’s homes, offices, hospital, or anywhere else.

    The weirdest ones usually have to do with the occasion, rather than the actual balloon. Once someone asked for the Eiffel Tower because her daughter was headed to France. Another time, someone ordered Santa sitting on a large tennis ball as a centerpiece for the tennis club Christmas party. I guess quirky occasions need quirky pieces.

    Is there anything you desperately want to make but haven’t been able to master?

    I can’t make a porcupine because it keeps popping itself. ;)

    Seriously, sometimes a child will ask me for something and I don’t know what it is. It might be some new character that I haven’t heard of yet, or something the child invented. Obviously, if I don’t even know what it is, I can’t make it. Often, someone will ask me for something that I’ve never made before. I tell the kid that this is an experiment and if it doesn’t work out, we can try something else. It almost always it works out. I might not have done it the best way, but it works. There are times, though, where I can’t think of a way to do it right away, so I don’t even try an experiment. Once I get home, I can play around with it and figure it out. There really isn’t anything that I can’t figure out after playing around with it for a while. There are times where I can’t figure out a 5-minute version of it. So maybe I can do it for a delivery piece, but I couldn’t do it while I’m standing at your restaurant table.

    One thing that I want to do but haven’t had the opportunity is to make a life-size car. I’ve worked on life-size cars at balloon conventions. In other words, it’s at a hotel with a bunch of other balloon twisters. That’s not the same as doing it and putting it in a shopping mall or some other public place. The other thing I want to do more of is balloon dresses. (Google this, you will be amazed.) With these types of pieces, it’s not so much a matter of not being able to master it. It’s more a matter of finding a client who is interested in it.

    How are kids with magic? Are they trying to figure out the trick, or are they just amazed and delighted?

    It depends on the age. The older kids try to figure it out. The younger ones don’t realize they can figure it out. They really believe it’s magic so there is nothing to figure out.

    More on what magic trick goes over the best with the most kids:

    The last thing is that it has to be something they understand, and the magic is something that is incongruent with what they know. For example, if I point a remote control at a TV and have access to 200 channels, if you ask me, I think that’s pretty darn amazing. Even so, it’s not magic to kids because that’s exactly what is supposed to happen. Or let’s say I pull out a magic prop that is a large turquoise box with 4 doors on it and the word “Magic” written in 27 different languages in yellow. I put a red ball in the box, spin a crank, pull the item out, and it’s becomes a green square. That’s not really magic. A child has never seen a turquoise box like this, so for all they know, this is what turquoise boxes are supposed to do. On the other hand, let’s say I put two sponge balls in my hand and make a fist, and put one sponge ball in a 6-year old’s hand and make her hand into a fist, so I have two balls and she has one. Then we fist bump. When we open our hands, now I have one ball and she has two. That’s amazing because it’s incongruent with what she knows should happen.

    What is more amazing than the magic to kids (and adults) is the balloons and ventriloquism. This is not something I never would have thought before I got into this business. They watch me make a balloon figure, so they saw exactly what happened, yet they are amazed by it. In my show, I blow up a 6-foot balloon, then I climb inside it. There is no magic to it. They see exactly how I climb into it. At the end of the show, more people ask me how I did that than ask about how I did any of the magic. With ventriloquism, it’s the same thing. I tell them that I’m talking for the bird puppet – I explain how it works – but they are mesmerized by the puppet.

    Have you ever been really excited about a new trick and then discovered that it totally fell flat with audiences? If so, what happened?

    Yes, it’s frustrating. There are two reasons a trick won’t work – either the routine or what I’ll call trick malfunction. By routine, I mean the storyline and the talking I do along with the trick. In terms of audience reception, the routine is way more important than the actual mechanics of the trick. When it falls flat during the show, I have a few lines I’ll say. If it’s a joke, I might say something like, “Hmm…my script says, ‘Pause for laughter.’” If it’s a magic trick, I might say something like, “I practiced that in front a mirror and got the same reaction.” I have a pretty dorky personality, so those types of lines works for me.

    Regarding trick malfunction, sometimes it’s my fault. Other times it’s the trick’s fault. I need the trick to work almost 100% of the time. If it doesn’t, either because of a mechanical-type issue or because of something I’m doing wrong (technically, not routine-wise), I can’t use it.

    Whether the problem is the routine or the trick, I usually give it at least twice before I start messing with it. Sometimes I can modify things and make it work. Other times I have to scrap it.

    Do you pretty much always have to work weekends?

    Yes. That’s one of the downsides. By design, entertainers have to work when you are having fun.

    Reply
    1. JessaB

      OMG the Balloon Alison is gorgeous. I love it. I’ve seen a lot of balloon shows and never really saw someone do a live person that I’d actually recognise without being told who it was supposed to be. That’s amazing.

      Reply
          1. Minion

            Oh! Good grief, I feel like a doofus. I saw it and it is amazing! All of her work is incredible. I admit, I kinda want a balloon dress now.

            Reply
  13. Professional Sweater Folder

    Great interview! The stories of the children give me such flashbacks to when I mascotted at a theme park for three years. Parents can honestly make or break an interaction. Either a kid wants to interact or they don’t, and when they do, often they’ll do it hardcore.

    … like that one kid who accidentally messed up a nerve in my leg and almost made me get surgery, but that’s another story.

    Magic dvds? Huh, I’ve always been curious about magic. Maybe I should pick up a few.

    Reply
  14. LQ

    This is great. I always love these interview posts because you pick great subjects and they are fantastically interesting.

    Reply
  15. J.B.

    So what’s the best way to hire someone who will connect with your crowd? Do the groups of entertainers have websites with links to members websites?

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      You can start with the internet. Just google balloon twister (or whatever type of entertainer) and your city. I would talk to the person on the phone, not email. If they connect with you on the phone, that’s a good sign.
      Find out if the person you are talking to is the person who will be coming to your event. You don’t want to think you are hiring one person, but then they farm it out to someone else.
      Ask them if they have liability insurance. Liability insurance for entertainers is extremely cheap, but a lot of entertainers don’t carry it. I pay about $150 a year for it. The only reason I would ask if they have it is that it is some measure of professionalism. I mean, who has a business and doesn’t have insurance?
      If you are hiring a clown, be sure you see a picture of them in costume before you hire them. You don’t want a scary clown coming to your birthday party.
      Does that help?

      Reply
      1. Karen Climer

        I just thought of something else … hire someone who specializes in kids (or adults, if that’s what you are looking for). Every city in America has magicians who would much rather be entertaining adults, but they will do a kids show if you call them. Don’t hire them for kids. It will be amazing magic, but they probably won’t connect with the kids. The reverse is true if you are hiring for an adult audience. People will say they can entertain anyone from 3-103, but that is rarely true.

        Reply
  16. Me2

    Loved this article, thank you so much! It reminded me of one of my favorite memories of my son’s childhood. For his fourth birthday we had a clown magician come to entertain. She was doing a simple trick where everytime she turned away from the children a bouquet of flowers would appear at the end of her wand and when she turned back to face the children the flowers would disappear, which caused her much consternation. The children were all laughing at her supposed confusion and my son ran over to a small vase of artificial flowers, pulled them out and handed them to her, saying “Here, you can have these!” Cue every mom in the room going, “Awwwwwwwww.”

    Reply
  17. animaniactoo

    When I was a teenager, I did face-painting for street fairs and birthday parties. I always loved the looks on the kids faces when you were able to make what they wanted happen. Especially if it was a new design and I was doing the “hmmm. I haven’t done that before, let’s try and see if I can do that.”

    The ones who really got me were the ones (usually boys) who “knew” they were just a bit too old to be finding this “cool” but would get crazy excited over doing it anyway. Usually they’d be led by the one kid who had the nerve to come over and ask for a Spiderman face or a snake, and then there’d be a mad rush when the others saw them showing it off.

    Combining the routine with the twisting, expanding it beyond the one skill set and creating a world out of it sounds like a lot of fun to pull off. 8•)

    Reply
    1. JessaB

      Yeh I wondered that, how long do they last before they deflate? Does it depend on size or number of balloons or twists? Do different materials last longer? It just fascinates me. I worry however that balloonAlison is going to become a cat toy. I think if the cats see that they’re gonna wanna play with it.

      Reply
    2. Karen Climer

      Thank you. Something like balloon Alison will last for about a week. It just slowly deflate and lose its shine, so people will often keep them much longer than that. But it looks decent for about a week. If it’s something that a kid is flinging around, it’s not going to last as long.

      There are different sizes. Most of Alison was made out of balloons that are 2″ in diameter. The megaphone part is made out of ones that are 1″ in diameter. The 1″ ones will lose air quicker because there isn’t as much air to begin with.

      Here’s a balloon secret – if you put a latex balloon in the freezer, it will last for a few months. It won’t deflate. It won’t lose it’s shine. You can pull it out and it looks good as new. (I have a freezer for balloons).

      If I were going to make a flower bouquet, I have to make it the day of or the day before I need it. I can make it a week ahead and stick it in the freezer, pull it out that day, and it’s good to go.

      Reply
      1. alter_ego

        I can just picture you with someone coming over to your house for the first time, not knowing what you do, accidentally opening the balloon freezer, and then sloooooooowly backing out of your house, never to speak to you again.

        Reply
        1. JessaB

          Yeh, that’d be wild. I had no ideas a freezer makes a balloon last longer. You learn the most interesting things on this blog.

          Reply
  18. FD

    I love the Alison-baloon at the top of the page! You’re really talented, and this is a fascinating interview.

    Reply
  19. De Minimis

    This was one of the best interviews you’ve ever had on here.

    I find it really interesting about the groups of entertainers that will collaborate and the ones that are more competitive. I would have thought they all would have been really competitive, since it sounds like it’s a pretty competitive line of work.

    Reply
  20. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under A.A., B.S.

    I’m no marketing expert, but a person’s actual name might be hard to remember, but “Balloon Karen” or “Magic Karen” might be easier.

    Reply
    1. Chickaletta

      Probably! Also hire a graphic designer to create a unique, nice logo for business cards, ads, invoices, etc. I see a lot of entertainers using cards and logos that they designed themselves, or worse, one of the standard business card designs from a “$10 for 500 cards” online companies. I recognize those everywhere I go, and everyone has the same thing. If you want to be memorable, it’s worth it to put some money into your branding!

      Reply
      1. Et

        How about a pun on your name? I’m reading it as climber so I may be off base here but you could brand with a balloon character climbing a ladder?

        Reply
      2. Tweety

        Perhaps use a pseudonym.

        How about Betty’s Balloons?

        Maybe make a Betty Boop sculpture for your website etc.

        Reply
  21. Ann Furthermore

    Really interesting read, thanks Alison!

    “If you think about it, children are used to adults always being right, and children needing help with things. When the roles are reversed, it’s pretty empowering to kids.”

    This is so true, and something I’d never thought of until I took my daughter to the rec center one evening for swimming lessons. The lady checking my ID said, “The leisure pool is closed at the moment,” and I said that was fine, since my daughter’s lessons were in the lap pool.

    Then this little boy, maybe 5, ran up to me, his eyes as big as saucers, and exclaimed, “Somebody pooped in the pool!!!” Now, I know that’s pretty gross, but I just could not stop laughing. He was *so* excited, bursting with the information, and just *had* to tell someone.

    When I thought about it later, I remembered how awesome it was when I was a kid to be the one in the know. It’s always adults that are telling kids things, so for a kid to be the one to tell a grown-up something they aren’t aware of really is the best thing ever.

    Reply
    1. hbc

      My 5 year old just had a big violin concert, where all the kids had been given careful instructions about where to enter the stage and where to exit. After all the kids got through their pieces, the teachers went up to perform a little something. In the respectful quiet as they took the stage, my daughter (who had been an impeccable performer and audience member to this point) yelled out, “Ms. Rebecca, you went the wrong way!”

      Reply
    2. Karen Climer

      I’ve got tell this story. It has nothing to do with my entertainer job. I heard this from the general manager of a local water theme park.

      This particular theme park was having an issue with poop in the kiddie area. One day, a lifeguard gets on the walkie talkie and yells, “THERE’S A TURD IN THE KIDDIE POOL! TURD IN THE KIDDIE POOL!” All of the lifeguards have walkie talkies. The guests can overhear what’s being said sometimes.

      The GM had a meeting with the lifeguards about this. One of the lifeguards suggested they call it a brown fish.

      The next day, this happened:
      Lifeguard: Brown fish in the kiddie pool.
      Poop Cleaner: We’re on our way.
      Lifeguard: You better hurry up. We’ve got a whole school of brown fish.

      Reply
      1. Shelby

        When I worked at a Sesame Street themed water park, we had “Code Big Bird”, “Code Snuffy”, “Code Elmo” and “Code Zoe.” I don’t think anyone was ever fooled.

        Reply
  22. BackintheSunshine

    Karen – thanks so much for sharing your world with us! As a fellow Orlandoan, maybe I’ll see you at an event one day.

    I second the many requests for more Interviews.

    Reply
  23. shep

    This is wonderful and so interesting! Karen, I love how you approach interacting with children. As a writer, I think a lot about what gives a character agency. When I write about children (and FOR children), that becomes even more important. I love that you make sure you give children you speak with the opportunity for agency to make decisions, etc.

    Am also throwing in my support for a monthly interview feature!

    Reply
  24. Moink

    You sound like a cool person but if I ever encountered you I would have to keep far, far away. The noise of balloon twisting is the worst noise ever. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. Once I was working a flight simulator for kids, so I couldn’t get away, and every time the balloon twister started twisting I would put my fingers in my ears. He came over to try to assure me it wouldn’t pop and tried to give me a balloon animal. Just stay away! Another time I went to a fetish event and there was a burlesque clown. Her whole routine turned out to be balloon twisting. I am not enough of a masochist to stay around for that.

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      That squeaky noise is the symphony of my life. There are some people who don’t like balloons and balloons popping.

      Yea, I don’t think it’s a good idea to force a balloon (or anything else) on someone who doesn’t want one. Although, I have to admit, if I saw you with covering your ears, I would ask you if your ears were cold. ;)

      Reply
  25. TheLazyB

    I have had many of those ‘can’t you tell her? No you have to!’ conversations with my son and other adults :) you sound fab. I wish you were local to me!

    Reply
  26. Eunice M

    For anyone looking for some more cool job-related stories, I also follow budgetsaresexy.com. They have a Side Hustle Series (unusual side jobs that people worked for some extra ca$h).. I one wrote a post about being a cake decorator the summer before my wedding. :)

    Reply
  27. Yachtie

    I LOVE these posts. Thanks Karen for sharing insights into your career! It’s pretty cool hearing what’s involved being a children’s entertainer.

    Reply
  28. Rethinking It

    Balloon Alison is the *cutest thing ever*! Karen, you are really talented. Thank you for sharing your story and your enthusiasm.

    Reply
  29. CM

    I love this! Karen, your answers are so funny and heartwarming. And that balloon Alison, wow! Most of the balloon things I see only vaguely resemble what they’re supposed to be. This is like a portrait.

    The thing about the parents who answer questions for their kids reminded me of conversations I sometimes have with little kids when their parents are around: I’ll say, “Hmm, I have two marbles, and you have two, so if we put them together, we’ll have… nine, right?” And the dad jumps in like, “No, FOUR!”

    Reply
    1. Clever Name

      I remember being a chaperone for my son’s class field trip to the zoo. We were standing in front an exhibit, and I was trying to prompt the kids to read the exhibit sign, so I asked, “So where do you think this animal comes from?” A teacher from another class (a teacher!!) pointed to the sign and said, “It says here they’re from Madagascar!” I tried my best to hold back on giving her a withering look and said, “I was asking a leading question in the hopes the kids would practice their reading”

      Reply
    2. TL -

      I do science birthday parties for kids on the weekends and parents (usually dads) will occasionally blurt out answers. Generally, I found that saying, “Hey! Peanut gallery!” and putting my finger on my lips gets a few laughs *and* makes quiets them.

      Reply
  30. Yaya Glitterfoot

    Girl, get a stage name! People will remember it. Make it your web site. Your instagram. Twist McAir. Bella Baloo. Helia Yum. Etc.

    Reply
  31. Althea

    *sigh* about parents being overbearing. I bought a box of girl scout cookies from a table set up at the train station. There were three moms and 7 or 8 scouts running around. I *tried* to ask the scouts how much per box – looking at them directly – but still one of the moms answered. There was a pregnant pause when I glanced back to the kids to try to give one of them the money, but they were ignoring everything. A mom took it and gave me the box.

    The worst part is, the whole point of selling the cookies is to teach girls business skills. Don’t think they learned much from having Mom take over for them. I guess it starts early.

    Nice interview! I would really not like this job…

    Reply
    1. Laura

      This is why I don’t buy Girl Scout cookies anymore. I LOVE them, but the moms have completely taken over every aspect. The girls don’t learn anything.

      Reply
      1. De Minimis

        The ones I see here are good at marketing….”Girl Scout Cookies! We take cash or credit!” They hang out right by the turnstile. My favorite pitch though was “Girl Scout Cookies…now or never!”

        It’s true, though, the moms seem to handle the actual transactions.

        Reply
        1. alter_ego

          yeah, they have girls set up in the train station I take to get home, and it’s like they know my 5 pm munchies can’t resist them.

          Reply
  32. Sadsack

    Karen, I really enjoyed reading this! I especially found your insights into parent/child interactions very interesting. You’ve made it clear that you really enjoy what you do. And I bet you are awesome at it.

    Reply
  33. DeskBird

    I would just like to say that the term “Balloon remorse” really made my day. I can both envision the face of a child facing balloon remorse – and imagine serious industry discussions on it. I… am a dork.

    Reply
  34. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night

    What a fantastic interview! I related to a lot of it as I was a professional belly dancer for over 10 years (full time for 3 of them). I left the entertainment industry to go back to a regular job a couple of years ago, and this article really reminds me of all the things I do (and don’t!) miss.

    Reply
  35. Elizabeth West

    This is really interesting. Thanks Alison, and thanks Karen!

    I’m going to remember that part about closing the line. It might come in handy someday if I’m signing books at a convention or bookstore. (Notice I’m being optimistic here LOL.)

    Reply
  36. Triangle Pose

    Thank you Karen and Alison!

    This was a joy to read. I’ll admit my first reaction was “I would be terrible at this job.” I don’t know when this happened but at some point I became the kind of adult that has NO IDEA what to say to children. I totally remember being a kid myself and just rolling my eyes inwardly because adults all had the same rote questions them they met me “what grade are you in school?” “how do you like school?” and now I’m one of those adults! Something just happens when I encounter children in any setting and my brain freezes. Now that I’m a dog owner my default is to just talk about that. “Do you like dogs? Want to see a picture of my dog? He’s really friendly.”

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      Pets are always a good topic. Another thing you can do is ask them if they know any good jokes. Usually they know one or two. If they don’t, they will make them up. The made-up jokes don’t always make sense, but that’s OK.

      Reply
  37. stevenz

    “Thanks Mom, but the question really isn’t about your pet. It’s about connecting with your child. If I wanted to talk to you, we’d be having a more intelligent conversation.”

    Don’t be too sure.

    Reply
  38. Kay

    This is fantastic! Loved checking out your website and seeing some of the balloons you deliver. I’d rather have a cute balloon centerpiece at my big event any day but would have never thought of that on my own. Your stories about the kids were devestatingly cute! You get so many stories working with kids. I feel like I’ve got enough material from my Japanese students to fill a book, and I’ve only been teaching them for three years.

    Reply
  39. Andrea

    This was so cool to read!! Karen, your love for your work really comes through. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  40. At the risk of outing myself with too much detail!

    Wow Karen I almost wish you would move here, or that the local children’s entertainment company (it would seem there is only one) would adopt some of your practices. Particularly your smooth and courteous exit strategy.

    I swore I would never hire/recommend the local company after witnessing their actions at a child’s birthday. There were 400 + people at this party, it was quite the shin- dig with more than half in attendence kids of course.

    The entertainment company was over two hours late. Did not answer their phone, nada. Everyone thought they were going to be a no – show, the poor hostess thought that maybe she’d booked the wrong day, and that was why they had not arrived or answered their phone, because they were closed? How else can you explain it? She was in the back of the kitchen in tears because she thought she screwed up and…

    Finally the group arrived, and no, the entertainers assured her that she had booked on the right day and had the correct time. However before anything else could be said the owner/director walked in and announced that they were late because of the insufficient directions she had been given, and nobody in the van knew where the place was.

    Now, there is only one park by that name in the area, and only one park in this particular town that even hosts events, and considering this company prides and bills itself as being locally owned and operated for 20 years, everyone had a hard time believing they got lost. But hey! They came, and the party wasn’t over; lots of kids still wanted balloons and their faces painted, so they set up shop and got started.

    15 minutes before they were originally scheduled to wrap – up, the director goes on stage and announces only 10 more minutes for face painting balloons etc. Her employees looked at her in shock, and one of the younger ones let it slip that she didn’t understand why they were leaving so soon, the party they were at just before paid the director several hundred dollars extra to stay late, and they didn’t have anything else scheduled that night! A few of us expressed shock at her candor, but she said, “hey I am not going to see any of that money so what’s the difference to me?”

    All hell broke lose when the director informed the host that she expected to be paid for the full three hours they were scheduled because it was not HER fault his wife had given them bad directions at the time of booking. The host refused to pay her the full fee since the group only worked for 45 minutes, but offered to pay them if they stayed the agreed amount of time, or split the difference if they stayed another hour (which I thought was generous considering it was almost 8pm and that would have put them there until 9 when the kids would start getting tired or go home). He reminded her of course, that she could have answered her phone when his wife called numerous times, or you know, phoned when they realized they didn’t know where they were going…

    Of course though, his proposition to let the group stay was completely unacceptable, and according to the director could not be allowed because it would set a precedent for people demanding they stay late. Besides, sir, it would be dishonorable to the commitment they had made afterwards! He was not game to pay her for the full 3 hours, and wrote the check to reflect the fees and time spent through to the remainder of the hour.

    I watched this woman walk up to the face painting line, and shut it down on the spot. She yelled at the small children, who, to their absolute credit, were waiting patiently for their turn, “No more face painting! We are closed. No, no, no!”

    Brave little souls, not a single one cried, but man if ever there was a time for it!

    I s?!t you not, she took the brush out of the painter’s hand mid – stroke, and told her “No more, you are done!” She marched over to the helium cart and shut it down mid – balloon. She started yelling at her people to pack it up into the van, because : “C’mon people I don’t care how late we are here, you are not getting paid overtime for this, so move it!”

    In front of everyone. Some people tried to talk to her, and she walked off saying, “That’s nice, that your kids are at a party and spending time with their families, but what about my employees? They have families too.”

    At which point the disgruntled girl mumbled, “like *she* cares!”

    This was not the last I saw of this company either. Imagine my shock, when they were set up to work the company picnic several months later. Of the crew that night, only one guy remained, the one who spoke up was fired, and the rest quit one by one over the two months following the party.

    Driving by the parks on weekends, I often see their van. Incredulous, that such a company could stay in business, I learned the owner/director changes the name every few years or so, just about the time they have pissed enough people off that business dwindles.

    So for anyone who would have a problem with your wrap up practices Karen, they can talk to me. They really don’t know how good they have it, nor how much worse it could be.

    Reply
    1. Karen Climer

      Wow! Before I got in the business, I would think you were exaggerating. I love the part about no one gave him directions. Nobody has ever given me directions. I think people quit doing that at least 10 years ago.
      It’s too bad the entertainers who work for this guy don’t break off and start their on business.

      Reply
  41. Interviewer

    Karen, do you have a short video you can link here of you doing magic tricks or balloon twisting for kids? Because now I really need to see this for myself.

    Reply
  42. Massachuset

    i just read all of this out loud to my partner i found it so fascinating! thank you karen and alison for doing this interview!

    Reply
  43. Victoria Amos

    Karen’s work is incredible! She introduced my son, her nephew , to the art of twisting when he was 11 and he is following in Aunt Karen’s footsteps . His last paying gig was creating parrots and swords for a pirate birthday party . Not a bad gig for a preteen ! We Love you and your work Karen but I’m still telling our parents what you said about the Pope!!

    Reply

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